No longer a need to pirate Doctor Who

American Doctor Who fans have something to celebrate after yesterday’s announcement: for the first time, the popular series will be shown parallel in Britain and the US.

It’s been a long road to reach this point. In the old days of the original series, American audiences didn’t even have access to Doctor Who.

It wasn’t until years later, when public television picked it up in syndication, and started showing it late at night in the US, that audiences here even heard of the show, for the most part – I’m sure there were a few people with friends in Britain who could ship them VHS tapes or something, but this was pre-internet, so piracy was a lot more labor intensive.

When the new run began, the BBC America station was still in its infancy, and the BBC didn’t really take them seriously, so while they got the content they wanted, they had to wait months, sometimes years to get it reformatted and edited for US televisions. (NTSC forever! Hoorah!)

Yesterday, we got confirmation that the release date for the first new episode of the new Series 6 of Doctor Who will premier on April 23 in both countries. Which is validation from the BBC that Doctor Who finally has enough US following to be taken seriously.

Of course, it wont be the first Doctor Who episode to be aired on the same day in both countries – the recent Christmas special hold that honor, and may have been an experiment to test audience numbers – but it represents a change for the whole show.

Perhaps they noticed the staggering number of piracies, which were surely generated by the previous schedule. Doctor Who fans are usually pretty devoted, and are also likely to be technically savvy, so it’s unlikely that they would wait any longer than necessary to watch their show. BBC America will be able to make a few more advertising dollars off of American fans this series.

 What’s in store for The Doctor?

We’re not sure yet, there is always speculation of course – personally, I think River is going to become an actual companion this series – all we’ve got officially so far is this “look ahead” video released by BBC America as a series teaser, which shows us that at least part of the series will take place in the American west, another nod to american audiences, and if that’s not enough, the video refers to the new series as a “season,” something typically not done with British produced television.